I Can Tear a Phone Book in Half With My Bare Hands. So Can You!


I was working diligently at my college newspaper when my friend and fellow editor, Ben Corn, taught me a trick I’ll never forget.

People will laugh, but some serious endorphins are released when you tear your first phone book in half. It’s so … manly. And impressive. It may sound ridiculous, but the next time you are with a few of your friends and you whip out this trick don’t be surprised when you end up surrounded by a pile of dead phone books.

Some people may get mad if you use a current edition, but really, who uses a phone book these days? All they do is sit around in your house, look ugly, and collect dust.

Here is an instructional video. Be sure to watch past the initial tear, because he gives a good step-by-step demonstration that allows you to understand the physics of the deed.

Below I’ve copied steps from wikihow.com.

1 – Move your hands as far out toward the corners of the book as possible. Make sure all your fingers still fit on the book. If it’s a small, narrow phonebook, your thumbs may be touching in the middle, but if it’s a large, broad book you will probably have some space between your hands.

2 – Use your thumbs to bend down the center of the phonebook. Put your thumbs close together in the middle (though still along the top edge) of the book. Push down with your thumbs so that the center of the book bends down to form a sort of crease.

4 – Bend the side edges of the book downward with your fingers. Keeping your thumbs (and the crease) in position, begin to bend the corners of the book down while also pushing inward on the crease. You’ll feel your chest (pectoral) muscles being used if you’re doing it right. The crease in the book will become more accentuated, and if you look carefully at the crease, you’ll be able to see pockets of air form between the pages.

5 – Rotate your hands to tear the book. Twist the right side of the book up with your right hand while twisting the left side down with your left hand (this can be reversed depending on what’s comfortable for you). Maintain a firm grip on the book at all times, and use your pectoral muscles to keep firm inward pressure on the book. The book should begin to tear.

6 – Tear through the book. If you’re strong enough and maintain a good grip on the book, you may be able to rip the book all the way down the center of its length in one shot. Otherwise you may need to reposition your hands and continue ripping less gracefully. Either way, it will be impressive.


When I was googling videos to share with you I noticed that tearing a phone book ranks above learning how to tear your hymen or your muscle!  What idiot Googles how to tear paper?

Anyway, happy tearing. I hope you make many friends out of this trick.


UPDATE: When Adrian got home he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about phone book tearing. But after he tried it he said he was “well chuffed!” Chuffed is a word some Brits say when they are pleased.  See, it’s the endorphins.



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8 responses to “I Can Tear a Phone Book in Half With My Bare Hands. So Can You!

  1. This would be cool to do at a family gathering where both of my Marice Corps brothers are there.

  2. I’m having way too much fun reading this post at work right now. I must try this when I get home (because I’m pretty sure my boss will hate me if I were to rip the phonebook we have here).

  3. Your header… isn’t that Kingston?!

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